PROVO -- Provo's skyline is looking a little modern with the air foil-shaped roof on top of the half-built Nu Skin Innovation Center. The silver cylinder will house the data center of the company. It is just one of the reasons the building's name includes the word innovation, according to Nu Skin chief financial officer Ritch Wood.
The heat from the data center will be captured and help heat the large atrium, Wood said.
"The building will be LEED certified. We will be totally green," Wood said.
When completed, the complex will house approximately 900 employees, which is nearly all of the local employees other than those who work at the warehouse in East Bay. It also will house the company's new research and development facility.
The building is scheduled to be completed in late summer with an October grand opening that will run in conjunction with the company's Global Distribution Convention.
"We're so excited to bring all of our employees under one roof. They are the driving synergy in our company," Wood said. "We could not have picked a better place for our headquarters. We have a talented work base."
Mayor John Curtis has watched the growth of the new center before the cranes went up.
"I get many opportunities to brag about Provo, and Nu Skin's project is one I like to talk about," Curtis said. "It's one more example of how Provo is thriving. They've been good community partners and I appreciate their investment in the downtown."
The construction project was originally touted as an $80 million venture. According to Wood that has now risen to $100 million.
"It will be a place where distributors can come and be recognized and feel appreciated. We hope people get that it's not just about Nu Skin," Wood said.
The public has asked lots of questions as to what's happening at Nu Skin. Wood gave a few answers.
Nu Skin's new parking garage on 100 South will be completed in March. At that time the old parking terrace, which the LDS Church now owns, will come down and construction on underground parking for both Nu Skin and the Provo City Center LDS Temple will begin. Below-grade digging will begin in November. The entrance to the underground parking will be on 100 South with those going the temple turning right for parking and those going to Nu Skin turning left, according to Wood.
A crystal pavilion also will be constructed starting in May. It will be available, with a garden view that includes the temple, for board meetings and other gatherings.
While Nu Skin is offering the community walk-through accessibility and gardens that will complement the surrounding areas, getting to that point is causing some discomfort and concern for neighboring business owners.
Three businesses -- Sensuous Sandwich, The Loft and Bingham Cyclery -- had their buildings purchased by Nu Skin. That gives Nu Skin complete ownership of the block between the temple ground and Freedom Boulevard.
"We didn't feel it was fair to the small business owners," Wood said. "When there's construction it disrupts."
Bingham Cyclery sits on the corner of Center Street and Freedom. Manager John Washburn noted that while Nu Skin has helped with the rent payments, they have lost as much as $20,000 in sales a month.
"Our business is at a standstill when it comes to foot traffic," Washburn said. "There is no parking and we've had complaints. If you're willing to walk a couple of blocks it's OK."
Washburn said construction workers taking their designated parking has been a big issue. But the construction workers also complain there isn't enough parking. With all that, Washburn said they knew from the beginning it was going to be difficult and will continue through the next year.
"Bottom line, we've dealt with the construction," Washburn said. He said he is more worried about Sensuous Sandwich, another long-term business feeling the pinch of construction.
Sensuous Sandwich has been in the area for several decades. Its building was purchased by Nu Skin and will eventually get a facelift like Bingham Cyclery. But according to an employee at the restaurant things are pretty slow.
"We have had a decrease in business," the employee said. She couldn't speak for the owner who was out of town, but did verify they too were having parking issues.
Washburn noted that in the end as Nu Skin tenants their buildings will eventually be improved to the Nu Skin standard. It's just a matter of hanging on.
"Unfortunately it's survival of the fittest, and right now that's Nu Skin," Washburn said.